September 4 2016 — The NSA hacked the Élysée Palace in 2012, between the two rounds of the Presidential election. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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UPDATE (June 1 2021) — According to Denmark’s public broadcaster, Denmark helped the US National Intelligence Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on the phone calls and text messages of Angela Merkel and other leading politicians during Barack Obama’s presidency.
The operation — codenamed “Operation Dunhammer” — targeted the German chancellor, her foreign minister and the leader of the opposition in 2012 and 2014, as well as a number of unnamed senior politicians and officials from Germany, France, Sweden and Norway.
The Danish military intelligence service allowed the NSA to tap into neighboring governments’ communications through a listening post near Copenhagen airport, and a secret “back door” to underwater cables.
All over Europe, political leaders are truly shocked! They would not be if they had been reading this blog…
“This is not acceptable between allies, and even less between allies and European partners,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, after speaking with Mrs Merkel.
“There is no room for suspicion between” the United States and its European allies, Macron said Monday, speaking after a Franco-German video summit.
“We requested that our Danish and American partners provide all the information on these revelations and on these past facts. We are awaiting these answers,” he added.
Merkel said she “could only agree” with Macron.
“It is unacceptable if countries which have close allied co-operation feel the need to spy on one another,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told public broadcaster NRK.
In a 2014 speech, President Barack Obama promised that the United States would not track the communications of “heads of state and government of our close friends and allies” — “unless there is a compelling national security purpose.”
Joe Biden was US vice-president at the time the “Operation Dunhammer” took place.
END of UPDATE
The secret document “SECRET//SI//NOFORN VISIT PRECIS BERNARD BARBIER” confirms that Bernard Barbier — the Director of the DGSE Technical Division from 2006 to 2013 — visited the NSA on April 12 2013 to discuss the attacks.
The US agencies had denied involvement in January and offered assistance in attributing the attacks.
This note offers a summary of the information published by the French Media:
“An initial press report from Paris Atlantico, “French Web site Says Turkish Hackers Behind Elysée Cyber Attacks.”
Dated 12 July 2012 stated it was believed “the attacks originated from France’s allies” and speculated Turkish hackers with possible links to Turkish ‘intelligence services or government bodies’ might be responsible.”
Barbier claims in the interview that he came easily and quickly to the conclusion that only two countries –The US and Russia — were capable of such a sophisticated attack.
Based on similarities with a previous attack the DGSE had investigated and understood, Barbier was 100% convinced that the attacks were coming from the NSA.
[Comment: Officially, it was nevertheless Turkey that was blamed for this hack in the French media… Does that ring a bell?]
‘Quantum Insert’ has been used to hack the machines. This type of attacks was used in the GCHQ/NSA operation against employees of the Belgian Telecom Belgacom, renamed Proximus today.
The malware was detected in May 2012 — between the two rounds of the Presidential election — and the help of the Technical Division of the DGSE was requested.
The fact that the NSA spies on the French President has shocked a few people but Barbier is not too surprised.
“In the Intelligence World, you have some allies. You don’t have friends.”
How Quantum Insert Works
According to various documents leaked by Snowden and published by The Intercept and the German newspaper Der Spiegel, Quantum Insert requires the NSA and GCHQ to have fast-acting servers relatively near a target’s machine that are capable of intercepting browser traffic swiftly in order to deliver a malicious web page to the target’s machine before the legitimate web page can arrive.
To achieve this, the spy agencies use rogue systems the NSA has codenamed FoxAcid servers, as well as special high-speed servers known as “shooters,” placed at key points around the internet. [WIRED]
According to Barbier, the difference in term of capacities between the French and the U.S. agencies is significant.
The NSA enjoys a workforce 20 times larger (60,000 vs 3,000), and a budget 40 times bigger (US $50 Billions).
Even the GCHQ (UK) & UNIT 8200 (Israel) have twice more resources.
Warning & Recommendations
Barbier believes that the Intelligence capacities of France are not matching the geopolitical ambitions of the French Government.
If France gets involved in countries such Mali, Syria and Libya, then you must assume that “these guys” will not sit idle. “They will attempt to make trouble in France.”
In his opinion, France does not have the Intelligence capacity to manage these threats.
Barbier ridicules the idea of a “European CIA/NSA.”
However, he believes that a joint French-German Intelligence Agency could be established and would be very efficient. Such Agency would enjoy a workforce of 15 000 skilled people.
The interview of Bernard Barbier — in French — can be watched in this video.
Unfortunately, the sound quality is quite bad. [Since the original post, the sound has been cleaned up a bit.]
Les Etats-Unis ont bien piraté l’Elysée en 2012 — Le Monde 03 September 2016
How to detect sneaky NSA Quantum Insert Attacks — WIRED
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